World junior girls' champion Dronavalli Harika played out an easy draw as white with Anna Muzychuk of Slovenia in the first game of the second round of the ongoing World Women's Chess Championship in Nalchik, Russia.
Harika, who had beaten Russian Vera Nebolsina in the first round to advance to the last 32 stage in this knock-out event, will play the return game on Tuesday with black.
Playing white, Harika did not get much out of the opening and pieces flew off the board in quick time. For the record, it was a Leningrad Dutch defense by Anna Muzychuk that came good.
The queens got traded early after Harika went for a safe set-up and the only open file on the board also initiated the trade of rooks soon after. The players reached a Bishop and pawn endgame and the draw was agreed to in 30 moves.
Grandmaster and rating favourite Koneru Humpy got her bye officially and will advance to the third round directly following the withdrawal of two Georgians, who were slated to meet each other in the first round. The Andhra-girl is now in the pre-quarter-finals where she will meet the winner of the clash between Hoang Thang Trang of Hungary and Monika Socko of Poland.
Interestingly, Monica qualified to the second round after appealing against the arbiter's decision in the sudden death tie-break game against Sabina Foisor of Romania. With only two knights and kings on the board at the flag-fall of the Romanian, the arbiter had given a decision in Sabina's favour but later the matter was sent for a review by the Appeals Committee that adjudged Monika as the winner.
Among other games to end early, Tan Zhongyi, who had beaten Tania Sachdev in the first round, showed promise once again and held Grandmaster Pia Cramling to an easy draw. It was a Slav defense by Pia as black and after regulation exchanges an opposite coloured Bishops endgame was reached with no chances for either player.
Fancied Lilit Mkrtchian of Armenia was also held to a draw by lower rated Anna Gasik of Poland.